Ways to Help Alleviate Acid Reflux
Do you frequently experience a burning sensation in your chest or stomach accompanied by an unpleasant taste in your mouth? If so, you may be one of the millions of Americans experiencing acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort. Fortunately, there are several ways to help alleviate acid reflux symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess body fat can increase the pressure on your stomach, causing the contents to move upward into the esophagus. Losing weight can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of acid reflux symptoms. However, it is important to lose weight gradually through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Extreme weight loss can actually worsen acid reflux symptoms.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain foods can trigger acid reflux symptoms, including spicy, fatty, and acidic foods. Common culprits include tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Cutting down on trigger foods and replacing them with more neutral options can greatly reduce acid reflux symptoms.
Try keeping a food diary to determine which specific foods trigger your symptoms. Once you have identified your trigger foods, try to eliminate them from your diet altogether.
Eat Smaller Meals
Eating large meals can put pressure on the stomach, causing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Eating smaller meals more frequently can reduce this pressure and lessen the occurrence of acid reflux symptoms. Aim to eat 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day, spaced out every few hours.
Avoid Lying Down After Meals
Lying down immediately after a meal can worsen acid reflux symptoms by allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Stand up or walk around for at least 30 minutes after eating to allow your food to digest properly.
Use a Wedge Pillow
Elevating your head and upper body can help keep stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. Using a wedge pillow while sleeping can help elevate your upper body. Alternatively, you can try placing blocks under the head of your bed to raise it by 6 to 8 inches.
Smoking can increase the likelihood of acid reflux by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, allowing harmful stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Quitting smoking can greatly reduce acid reflux symptoms and improve your overall health.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help alleviate acid reflux symptoms by reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Antacids, histamine blockers, and proton pump inhibitors are all commonly recommended for acid reflux treatment.
It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any medication for acid reflux, especially if you are pregnant or have other medical conditions.
Acid reflux can greatly impact your quality of life, but there are several ways to help alleviate symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding trigger foods, eating smaller meals, avoiding lying down after meals, using a wedge pillow, quitting smoking, and considering medication are all effective ways to reduce acid reflux symptoms. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to seek professional medical help. With the right treatment plan, you can look forward to a future with little to no acid reflux symptoms.